Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Lia Eisenstadt is an artist who's development and experimentation with different processes and styles has been incredibly impressive. I got to know Lia's work a few years ago in her printmaking and illustration, which was built around bold colors, strong and recognizable imagery that came together to form her own hieroglyphic language. Yet over the last year or so, Eisenstadt has really come into her own as a talented and ambitious sculptor. Her sculpture work is a more dynamic and layered use of the same imagery seen in her print work but when the lights go down she adds another exciting element in colored lights that draw out certain aspects of the piece.
I got to have a short chat with Eisenstadt and the information and images she gave me about her work is much more than I could ever give. I'm certainly a big fan of her work and after reading this, I'm sure you'll be too.
1. First things first, give us some background on your work. What makes you the artists that you are? (inspirations, mediums, etc.)
When creating work, I’m of course expressing my experiences in life and perspectives on contemporary conversations, as I think a lot of artists do, but I function in my own language of symbolism in ‘characters’, ranging from old symbolic imagery to modern visuals as a basis for most of work. These characters include snakes, naked women, abstracted faces/masks, consumer trash and modern technology. Using such recognizable imagery in my own language creates work that is both obsessively detail oriented yet vague enough to be interpreted differently by each viewer, allowing my work itself to engage in conversation with the audience. I think this interest in symbolism comes from my love for directors such as Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch, they both use saturated color and unexpected imagery to set tones, tell stories and place subtle clues throughout their work. You could honestly watch 2001 a Space Odyssey a hundred times and come out with a different perspective each time and it drives me crazy in the best way possible. I experiment a lot with artificial light in my videos and photography and use electro luminescent wire in my sculptures to get a ‘faux-neon’ effect. I generally use MDF board and plexi-glass in my sculptures but I’m currently looking to expand my choice in materials. Gotta switch it up every now and then, right?
2. So, from what I understand, you come from an illustration type background but you've really branched into sculpture. What would you say has inspired this exploration into a new medium?
I had always loved illustration and painting but at a certain point I began to feel limited, there just wasn’t enough I could get out of 2D work. I still enjoy incorporating my love for illustration in my sculpture work, I just find creating my own unique canvas to paint on infinitely more fulfilling. I’ve always dreamed of creating installation art and I think sculpture is the path for me to get there.
3. Your sculpture work is made up of awesome stand alone pieces that also have this cool story telling and illustration elements with light. What drew you towards working with light?
Thank you! I’m absolutely obsessed with neon and artificial lights. I have to attribute growing up in New York City and being saturated with light up signs and over the top consumerist meccas like Times Square for exposing me to that sort of landscape from an early age. I also associate harsh artificial light with bars and night clubs, which are at times, sexy, disgusting and colorful messes that inspire the aesthetic of my work as well. There’s something so mesmerizing to me about the way artificial lights create intimate and eccentric scenes, in a dark room the viewer unwillingly becomes a part of the work, as the light hits their face and creates brilliant shadows across the room. I enjoy using color alongside my concepts, not purely for aesthetic purposes, but to highlight different emotion as well as comment on the saturated and technological age we live in. We live in a time where we’ve become SO accustomed to staring into bright screens for a majority of the day, that we see light in a sort of comforting manner without fully realizing it, after all- half of our conversations and interactions take place over colorful pixelated lights.
4. Where do you plan on headed with your current body of work? Or any plans totally outside of what you're currently doing?
Currently, I’m in a more experimental phase, trying out new textures and mediums such as artificial fur, resin and resin-collaged objects. I’m trying to find new ways to bring the viewer into the work, creating temptation to get closer and touch the work itself. My most recent video project “Questionairre” was one of my favorite pieces this year, though video isn’t my main focus, creating a piece where I got to paint scenes in color and record unique (and mostly drunk) opinions over a frantic mask-wearing drummer’s jam session felt just right, I’d love to make more work like that in the future. I love music and movies so it seems like the best of both worlds for me. Oh and I’m absolutely taking neon classes when I move back home. That’s been the plan for years.
5. You're a senior art student, any big plans for your art in the future? Thoughts on the current state of the art world that influence your decisions in this?
As I mentioned earlier, once I graduate I’m getting my ass into a neon shop ASAP! I still feel like I’m all over the place with mediums and directions and I look forward to continue tumbling forward and finding new ways to express my artistic vision after leaving this space and entering some new ones. And I love the increase in technology based work in the art world these days, Nam June Paik is a big inspiration for me and I’d love to do my own modern spin on his concepts in the future.
6. Open season, anything else you want to add or get out there by all means, go ahead.
I don’t upload as much as I should these days but my Instagram is @sobanyc and my website is https://sobanyc.weebly.com/
Soba as in soba noodles, nyc as in the overpriced smelly trash paradise. Yum.
Check out my video “Questionairre” here! https://vimeo.com/304629137 Grab some popcorn, it’s a long but worth the watch.
Remember Folks! Feature Friday is an awesome way to get your work seen and promoted, as well as make you eligible for other prizes! But, you’ve got to post on that forum so we can see your work and promote it! So post, comment and post some more! Let’s see and talk about all of your work!